An ashtray artifact surfaced during a recent inventory at the Greece Museum. Lee Strauss and Bill Sauers were kind enough to bring it to my attention and help research what and who it was all about.
Many years ago, every time my late mother and I would drive past a certain farmhouse on English Road, she would announce, “That’s Juddy Kenyon’s house!” Kenyon being an ancestral name, I would press her for details on the relationship, but she was uncharacteristically vague, “Some sort of cousin.” As it turns out, he was my 4th cousin 4 times removed, but prominent enough for her to have claimed him.
As it also turns out, the house to which Mom was referring all those times is a good two miles west of the Judson Kenyon farm property, but the houses are very similar in appearance and if Mom ever actually set foot in “Juddy’s,” it had probably happened 85 years before.
Judson S. Kenyon was born in 1872 in Barry County, Michigan, to William James Kenyon and Elizabeth L. Rowe of Greece. Originally from Rhode Island, William’s parents, and presumably William, farmed in Michigan, but there were extensive Kenyon family ties to Greece, New York. By 1875 William, Elizabeth, and 3-year-old Judson were living in Greece.
Judson, a graduate of Rochester Business Institute, married Mrs. Kate (Rickman) Justice in the Long Pond Road home of her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Rickman, in April of 1920 (Kate was the widow of Willard H. Justice and had two children by that marriage.) After their wedding trip out west, they lived at what is now 2428 English Road, where they farmed. Both houses still stand.
During his 90-year lifespan, Judson was very active in Greece political, religious, and local government roles. At one time or another, he served as: deacon, clerk, teacher, trustee, treasurer, and historian at Greece Baptist Church; tax collector, justice of the peace, and member of the Town Board of Greece, NY; life member of Greece Grange…and a member of the Greece Republican Party for most of his life.
The base of the ashtray reads: 1948 Honoring Judson S. Kenyon Over 50 Years a Republican Greece Republican Organization
The ashtray was presented to him in 1948, in commemoration of his long-standing involvement in that organization. Way to go, Cousin Juddy!
Thanks to a 75-year-old ashtray and to my mother, whose geography may have been off, but whose interest in family and Greece history were spot-on, I was prompted to tell the story of a prominent Greece resident.
Judson S. Kenyon died in 1963 and is buried in Falls Cemetery, among many of his relatives.
Coming to Monroe County in the early 1800s, the Britton Family were early settlers in what was then called Rochesterville.
Alanson Phizarro Britton, the ninth child of thirteen, was born in the tiny village in 1820. While in his teens he ran a line boat on the Erie Canal and later he managed a Toll Gate on the plank road in Brighton which became East Avenue. While boarding at the Toll Gate house he met and later married, in 1849, a school teacher named Laura Lewis. By 1853 he became interested in a plot of land in the town of Greece. The first dwelling, on about 1.02 acres he purchased from John and Lydia Beal, was a log house. A small portion of this land had already been deeded for use as a schoolhouse to Greece Common School District #9 by the Beals. Shortly after the Civil War, Alanson began building the present Italian ate style home on the property. The timbers were cut from trees on the property, hauled to a sawmill, cut into useable lumber, and brought back to the building site.
The Britton farmstead, completed about 1870, was well known for its Hubbard Squash. By 1875 the Brittons had sold about an acre of the southern portion of the land near Maiden Lane to the Methodist Church for $700. Laura and Alanson raised four children, of which the two eldest died fairly young.
Mr. Britton was the Town of Greece Supervisor five different times from the late 1870s until 1901. By mutual agreement, elected supervisors only served a two-year term and retired but could run again after a two-year gap. Of all the 19th-century supervisors, Britton seems to hold the record for the number of times served. Alanson had a long life, dying at the homestead in 1912; Laura preceded him in 1910 with an equally long life. They are buried in the Falls Cemetery on Ridge Road. The Britton homestead is now about 140 years old and is again up for sale with 1.6 acres of the original 102 acres from 1853 remaining. House # 1066 is listed on the “101 historic sites in The Town Of Greece” and awaits a new owner who loves being surrounded by “friendly ghosts” of an important Greece family!
Photos, Data supplied by Alan Mueller, Greece Historian’s Office, Greece Historical Society